Fazoli’s adds chicken wings to menu, launches virtual brand

Italian fast-casual brand Fazoli’s will serve chicken wings at all company-owned brick-and-mortar locations after a successful test of delivery-only concept Wingville boosted sales.

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(Courtesy Fazoli’s)
(Courtesy Fazoli’s)

Italian fast-casual brand Fazoli’s will serve chicken wings at all company-owned brick-and-mortar locations after a successful test of delivery-only concept Wingville boosted sales.

The wings – which are available in a variety of sauces, including mild, medium, hot, honey BBQ, hot honey BBQ, Parmesan garlic and Asian chili sauce – will also be added to the menus of franchisees by the Spring of 2021.

“Though we are an Italian brand, we wanted to expand and explore new ways to innovate our menu to provide guests with something they’d never expect from us,” Rick Petralia, the brand’s director of culinary innovation, said in a statement.

“Wings were an easy choice because of their popularity and ease of execution. They are a perfect expansion for our off-premise business. On the culinary side, our team has been working very hard to perfect our wing recipes, testing and evolving sauces to provide the best variety and flavor for our guests. This is only the beginning, and the new equipment opens up even more possibilities to continue to innovate and enhance our menu.”

Fazoli’s is a Lexington, Kentucky-based Italian fast-casual chain, operating nearly 220 restaurants in 28 states.

Winner, winner, chicken wing dinner

Fazoli’s has been testing chicken wing concept Wingville for more than a year. During COVID-19, the test was expanded to a dozen locations, which showed that the menu addition boosted restaurant sales by nearly 11%.

“The numbers out of the gate were so strong, making the decision to launch wings company-wide this fall is a no-brainer,” Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard said in a statement.

Virtual chicken wing brands have thrived in the COVID-19 era as many families searched for an easy alternative to cooking at home. Virtual kitchens operate within actual restaurants, but cook food that may be sold under a different name on third-party delivery platforms, like DoorDash, Uber Eats or GrubHub.

In a sense, virtual kitchens help restaurants optimize search engine optimization, or SEO, online. Consumers ordering food delivery tend to search for a particular menu item, like wings or Chinese food, rather than by a restaurant name.

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